Monday, February 14, 2011

St. Valentines Day Massacre

Most people are familiar with the famous St. Valentines Day Massacre that happened on February 14, 1929 in Chicago.  The South Side Italian gang led by mob boss Al Capone lined up the members of the North Side Irish gang and gunned them down.  The intended victim, Bugs Moran who was the leader of the North Side Gang, escaped the slaughter.

You are probably not familiar with the St. Valentines Day Massacre that occurred exactly 75 years later in Connecticut on February 14th 2004.  This massacre was not a violent event but  a surprise 40th birthday party for my sweetheart.  It was, indeed, a surprise.    He didn’t even realize that it was all about him until about 10 minutes after we arrived . . . despite the big sign saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY.  He’s cute but not too bright.

There were guests from as far away as central Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Long Island, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.  The temperatures were in the teens, with wind-chill approaching zero, and there were 75 crazy people having a picnic outside to celebrate one person’s birthday!  Who knew there were so many people that actually like him?

In spite of the cold, everyone had a great time.  We had food and a fire pit and cake.  Although we had to keep the beer inside a cooler to keep it from freezing and there was a big pot of chowder cooking that, despite the fact that it was on a camp stove, had a ring of frozen soup around the edge. 

We ate, we drank, we hiked around the park and had a blast.

It was truly awesome! 

Now let's see . . . if he was 40 in 2004 for that would make him how old now??  Yikes.  

 Sweets for the sweets . . .  Heavenly Cinnamon Rolls

  • 3/4 Cup Whole Milk, Warmed (110 Degrees)
  • 1 Envelope (2 1/4 Teaspoon) Instant Or Rapid-Rise Yeast
  • 3 Large Eggs, Room Temperature
  • 4 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Cornstarch
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 12 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Cut Into 12 Pieces And Softened To Room Temperature

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Cups Packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Softened

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 Oz Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 3 Cups Confectioner's Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Milk
**To Make Frosting, Mix All Ingredients Until Smooth.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When the oven reaches 200 degrees, turn off.  Line a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with foil, allowing excess foil to hang over pan edges. Grease foil and a medium bowl.

Whisk milk and yeast in measuring cup until yeast dissolves, then whisk in eggs.  In the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix flour, cornstarch, sugar, and salt until combined.

With mixer on low, add warm milk mixture in steady stream and mix until dough comes together, about 1 minute.  Increase speed to medium, and add butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated. Continue to mix until dough is smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.

Turn dough out onto clean surface and knead to form a smooth, round ball.  Transfer dough to prepared bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in warm oven. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in small bowl.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Roll dough into 18-inch square, spread with butter, and sprinkle evenly with the filling.  Starting with the edge nearest you, roll dough into tight cylinder, pinch to seal seam, and cut into 8 even rolls.

Transfer rolls, cut-side up, to prepared pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in warm spot until doubled in size.  After rolls are done rising, heat oven to 350 degrees.  Discard plastic wrap and bake rolls until deep golden brown and filling is melted, 35 to 40 minutes.

While rolls are baking, make the frosting.

When cinnamon rolls are done baking, transfer pan to a wire rack and cool 30 minutes.

Using the excess foil overhang, lift rolls from pan and frost with cream cheese frosting before serving.

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